Run, Walk and Roll helps children learn and play

June 2, 2017 by JoLynne Lyon

photo of Chase playing with a toy.

Chase activates a toy from his new, specialized chair.

Most people don’t remember when they started to understand cause and effect. They flip a switch, the lights turn on—they take it for granted. However, for some children, it’s harder to make that connection (no pun intended).

This month, be assured that your actions supporting the Run, Walk and Roll on June 24 can have definite, happy effects on the families of youngsters with disabilities. You can learn more about that below–but first, meet Chase Reed.

He is two and a half years old, has limited vision, and uses cochlear implants. His dexterity is limited, and until recently he spent a lot of time on his back on the floor. For him it was literally hard to see what toys were for, let alone work them and find out what they do.

The Run, Walk and Roll event is for children like Chase. Last year’s proceeds went toward equipment like the specialized Tumble Form chair that helps Chase sit up and interact with his family. It paid for adapted switch toys that Chase and other children can operate. These devices make a difference for the Reed family and other families in Northern Utah.

This year, the Center for Persons with Disabilities’ Up to 3 program is hosting a repeat of the event to provide more devices to more families. (Its theme: Everybody is a superhero!) Technology, both high- and low-tech, can make a real difference for youngsters with disabilities, but it’s often expensive. Tumble Forms can cost hundreds of dollars, but they provide much better support than a car seat, the sitting angle can be adjusted, and in one, children who have trouble sitting on their own are in a much better position to use their hands. Those benefits add up to a big boost in development.

“Chase has no trunk support,” said Chase’s mother, Maria. “He loves being in the chair. He likes to sit up.”

Up to 3’s Amy Henningsen added a custom-made tray so he could play with toys, and that’s where Chase’s younger brother, Jordan, brings things to show him. Before, Maria said, if she wanted to introduce a book or toy to Chase, she needed to hold him in one hand and the toy in the other. The Tumble Form makes that interaction easier, and it’s getting results. Chase used to ignore toys, but he’s paying more attention to them now, and learning that when he presses a button, the dog barks.

Understanding cause and effect lays the groundwork for more development. It helps children learn that their actions can make things happen; push a switch and a toy dog barks; ask for a drink of water and Mom brings one over.

“You can see how something like that plays a part in communication,” said Marla Nef, the Up to 3 coordinator. In working with children, she has seen the moment when children realize that when they do something, they get something back. “You can see when that light turns on. It’s a powerful concept.”

This year’s Run, Walk and Roll is on Saturday, June 24 at Elk Ridge Park, and it features a 10K, 5K and one-mile walk, plus fun family activities. To find out more, visit the Up to 3 website and Facebook event page. Come dressed as your favorite superhero or rock star!

 

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